It’s easy to get lost in the kaleidoscope of sultry dance moves, risqué outfits and thumping beats and forget that Fifth Harmony is, at its core, a group which possesses incredible vocal prowess.
The American girl group reminded fans of this during its maiden performance in the country on April 7.
Sure, when the four-woman band first took the stage at Sunway Lagoon Surf Beach, Subang Jaya in Selangor, with the energetic That’s My Girl, there was a fair bit of hip-swaying, hair flipping and twirling about as the music boomed and blared. Clad in a figure-hugging fiery red ensemble, their vocal abilities weren’t the focal point, to say the least.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, Fifth Harmony specialises in making infectious, danceable pop numbers and that’s what fans came to hear and lapped up, if the ear-deafening screams from the crowd were anything to go by.
Fifth Harmony got its start in 2012 when Dinah Jane, Ally Brooke, Normani Kordei, Lauren Jauregui and ex-bandmate Camila Cabello all auditioned for the second season of The X Factor USA as soloists. They failed to make the cut, but were later grouped together and went on to finish third in the competition.
This concert was part of its worldwide 7/27 tour, an effort to promote the sophomore album of the same name.
Backed by a live band, the first half of the 70-minute set was a mix of uptempo and midtempo tracks – Miss Moving On, This Is How We Roll, Reflection and Sledgehammer – that kept the energy up. At the same time, there were moments that the accompanying music drowned out their vocals.
The second half of the night was truly a highlight for me.
The frenetic atmosphere from earlier on cooled and the ladies sat down on the stage (understandably tired from all those vibrant dance moves) and simply sang. As the band played softly, the audience could hear each of the members’ unique vocal character as they performed slower numbers like Write On Me, No Way, We Know and Brave, Honest, Beautiful.
The latter is a particularly beautiful ballad, encouraging listeners to embrace one’s self.
Jane and Brooke are the group’s powerhouse vocalists, effectively delivering many of the songs’ big notes.
Jane especially impresses with her falsetto runs throughout the show. Jauregui’s and Kordei’s vocals, meanwhile, are soft, warm and husky.
Still, Kordie, who is shuttling between Asia and the United States as she is also a contestant on the current season of Dancing With The Stars, showed amazing range when she wowed the audience with her whistle register towards the end of Gonna Get Better.
It’s also important to note that each of the four members got a chance to display their vocals equally. Although it is a pity the audience couldn’t hear Cabello sing live too, but Fifth Harmony is no less a stellar group without her, as there is still an abundance of talent.
The members took turns to address the crowd throughout the show, with topics ranging from the really hot weather to thanking fans for their continuous support (Jane even said, “saya cinta kamu” at one point).
The energy picked up again with sassy girl power anthem, BO$$.
Of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without the ladies performing smash hits Worth It and Work From Home. Both are earworms but the former is probably the most apt description for the show.